Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Four oxen belonging to farmers of Thangrong in Mongar were found dead last week after wooden planks of a suspension bridge over Drangmechu got displaced.

It is not known when the incident actually happened, as farmers usually left the oxen to graze in the forest on the other side of the river.

Villagers of Ngarpentang found the oxen, belonging to different owners, dead last week.  Three were found dead on the banks of the river.  One was found hanging on the bridge.

Ngarpentang tshogpa, Lhendrup, said the oxen must have fallen off when they tried to cross the bridge.

He said more than 100 oxen belonging to Ngarpentang and Lingkhar chiwogs are released in the forest.

According to the tshogpa, the 40m suspension bridge was constructed seven years ago when officials came to survey the Kuri-Gongri project. “It benefitted us immensely since then.”

“The bridge is low and it touches the river in the middle of summer when the river swells,” Tshogpa Lhendrup said. “The villagers come together to replace the wooden planks and buttons.”

He said Ngarpentang village has about 50 households and each household contribute about three to four days of labour towards its repair.

The bridge, located at the base of Ngarpentang, connects Pemagatshel.

According to the tshogpa, the bridge is a necessity for the village, as they have to use it to take their oxen to the forest. “We keep the oxen in the village for two months during ploughing season and in the jungle for the rest of the year.”

He also said some people from Tshatshi and Dagor also use the bridge. “Tshatsi and Dagor are about a five-hour walk from the bridge.”

He said the previous tshogpa had requested the gewog tshogde to ask for government support to maintain the bridge and place metal instead of wooden planks. “But we didn’t receive support, claiming it was privately built.”